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The Relational Ethics of ‘Never . . . Too Much’

Situating and Scaling Intimate Uncertainties in an Adriatic Harbour

Jelena Tošić

This article explores how a specific pattern of relational ethics – referred to as ‘never . . . too much’ – figures as a way of coping with intimate uncertainties in close relationships. The concept of relational ethics refers to the historically embedded ways in which people live and cultivate ethical values through relations and, as such, also represents an ethnographically grounded conceptual contribution to ongoing anthropological debates on moral economy. My research unfolds ethnographic insights into three variations of the relational ethics of ‘never . . . too much’, three respective sets of social actors and relational scales: ‘never feel too much’/local women and their relationship to their marital partner; ‘never own too much’/local men and their relationship to property; ‘never settle too much’/female migrants from Russia and their relationship to the place of settlement. The article’s analysis is developed against the background of a particular spatial and temporal location – a border minority town with a history of (forced) migration, and is a contemporary focal point of migration, marginalisation by the state and patriarchy.

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Helms, Elissa. 2013. Innocence and victimhood: gender, nation, and women's activism in postwar Bosnia‐Herzegovina. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 348 pp. Pb.: US$26.95. ISBN: 978‐0‐299‐29554‐7.

Jelena Tošić

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Armbruster, Heidi. 2013. Keeping the faith: Syriac Christian diasporas. Canon Pyon: Sean Kingston Publishing. 288 pp. Hb.: US$105.00. ISBN: 978‐1907774294.

Jelena Tošić

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Jelena Tošić and Annika Lems


This contribution introduces the collection of texts in this special section of Migration and Society exploring contemporary patterns of im/mobility between Africa and Europe. It proposes an ontological-epistemological framework for investigating present-day movements via three core dimensions: (1) a focus on im/mobility explores the intertwinement of mobility and stasis in the context of biographical and migratory pathways and thus goes beyond a binary approach to migration; (2) an existential and dialogical-ethnographic approach zooms in on individual experiences of im/mobility and shows that the personal-experiential is not apolitical, but represents a realm of everyday struggles and quests for a good life; and (3) a genealogical-historical dimension explores present-day migratory quests through their embeddedness within legacies of (post)colonial power relations and interconnections and thus counteracts the hegemonic image of immigration from Africa as having no history and legitimacy.

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Book Reviews

Jelena Tosic, Alberto Arce, and Jeremy MacClancy

Bruce Kapferer (ed.), Oligarchs and oligopolies: New formations of global power by Jelena Tosic

John Clammer, Sylvie Poirier, and Eric Schwimmer. Figured worlds: Ontological obstacles in intercultural relations by Alberto Arce

Eric Venbrux, Pamela Sheffield Rosi, Robert L. Welsch (eds.), Exploring world art by Jeremy MacClancy